Anton Vanko – Memorial Plaque unveiled



Pamätný deň Antona Vanka / Lednické Rovne / 7. Máj 2018

Pri príležitosti nedožitých 100. narodenín vojnového hrdinu a pilota RAF Antona Vanka, ako aj v predvečer oslavy víťazstva and fašizmom, si obyvatelia obce Lednické Rovne, členovia rodiny a zástupcovia mnohých organizácií a spolkov, spoločne pripomenuli Antonov životný príbeh. Zároveň bol Antonovi, rodákovi z Lednických Rovní, odhalený priamo v strede obce pamätník a pamätná doska.

Slávnostného aktu odhalenia pamätníka sa zúčastnili, okrem iných, aj štátny tajomník ministerstva obrany Marian Saloň, poslanec národnej rady SR a predseda Trenčianskeho samosprávneho kraja Jaroslav Baška, europoslankyňa Monika Beňová, mimoriadny a splnomocnený veľvyslanec Spojeného kráľovstva a Severného Írska Andrew Garth v sprievode vojenského pridelenca a bývalého pilota RAF plukovníka Michael Longstaff, ako aj mnohí ďalší hostia.

Priebeh slávnosti vhodne dopĺňala Čestná stráž ministerstva obrany SR a skupina Funny Fellows, ktorá v dobových uniformách hrala sklady, ktoré počúvali piloti RAF cez druhú svetovú vojnu.

Počas druhej časti slávnosti, ktorá sa uskutočnila v príjemných priestoroch Hunty Fish, sa všetci zúčastní zoznámili so životom Antona Vanka, a to aj za účasti modelu lietadla Spitfire, ktorý zabezpečil Spitfire Club CZ.

Pamätník Antona Vanka bude pripomínať všetkým občanom obce Lednické Rovne, ale aj prechádzajúcim turistom, že 70 rokov slobody tu nemáme zadarmo a že ju vybojovali ľudia, na ktorých nesmieme zabudnúť. Anton bol jedným z nich.

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Anton Vanko Memorial Day / Lednicke Rovne, Slovakia / 7 May 2018

On the occasion of the 100th birthday of war hero and RAF pilot Anton Vanko, as well as the day before fascism victory memory day, residents of the village of Lednické Rovne, Vanko family members and numerous organisations and associations representatives, together commemorated the story of Anton´s life. During the event a memorial and plaque was unveiled in the village centre for Anton, who was born in Lednické Rovne.

The Memorial unveiling ceremony was attended by, among others, Marian Saloň the Secretary of the Slovak Ministry of Defence, Jaroslav Baška member of National Parliament of the Slovak Republic and Chairman of Trencín region, Monika Beňová member of the European Parliament, HE Andrew Garth UK Ambassador for Slovakia who was accompanied by UK Defence Attaché and former RAF pilot – Group Captain Michael Longstaff, as well as many other guests.

The ceremonial event was appropriately complemented by a Guard of Honour from the Slovak Ministry of Defence Guard, as well as music band Funny Fellows, who played – dressed in period costumes – music listened by RAF airmen during WW2.

During the second part of the ceremony, which took place in the Hunty Fish premises, event attendees received information about Anton Vanko life, and also included the presence of a Spitfire aircraft replica, which was displayed by the Czech Spitfire Club.

The monument to Anton Vanko will remind not only all citizens of Lednické Rovne village, but also passing tourists, that we haven’t had 70 years of freedom free of charge and that it is due to people, to whom we must not forget. Anton was one of them.

Posted in 312 Sqd, Anniversary, Ceremony, Not Forgotton | Leave a comment

Plzen – Memorial Plaque unveiled, 6.5.18.



On Sunday 6 May 2018, a Memorial plaque was unveiled at Plzeň 3 in rememberence of the Czechoslovak RAF airmen from that District.

Oldřich HOŘEJŠÍ

311 Sqn pilot

Stanislav PEROUTKA

310 Sqn pilot

Miloslav PETR

310 Sqn pilot

† 29.01.43.

Karel POŠTA

312 Sqn pilot

Jiří SCHWARZ

56 OTU pilot

† 22.09.41.

Vilém SOUKUP

311 Sqn pilot

† 15.09.41.

Jindřich ZÁŘECKÝ

310 Sqn pilot

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Posted in 310 Sqd, 311 Sqd, 312 Sqd, Events, Memorial, Not Forgotton | 1 Comment

Brookwood – 6 May 2018


The annual ceremony to commemorate the end of WWII was held at the Czechoslovak Memorial at CWGC Brookwood on 6 May 2018.

Každoroční ceremoniál k připomenutí konce 2. světové války se uskutečnil u Československého památníku v CWGC, Brookwoodu dne 6. května 2018.

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The very well attended ceremony included His Excellency Ľubomír Rehák, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic, Mrs Markéta Štěrbová, 1st Secretary of the Czech Embassy, London, Air Vice Marshall Graham Russell, Steve Fisher, Foreign Liason Staff Officer for Air, Col Jiří Niedoba, Defence Attaché, Czech Embassy London, Col Jan Goceliak, Defence Attaché, Slovak Embassy London, Defence Attaché’s from Austrlaia, France, Poland and the USA, His Worship the Mayor of Woking Graham Cundy and Madam Mayoress Sarah Cundy, Sophia Mika, for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, representatives from the RAF Association, John Bumicz representing the Polish Airmen’s Association UK, representatives from the Czechoslovak Freedom Fountain project, representative from the JTAC unit at Náměšť nad Oslavou Air Base, Czech Republic, representatives of the Brookwood Last Post Group, parents and children from the Czech School Berkshire and the Slovak Pre School, Jaromir Marek from Český rozhlas, a detachment including Standard bearers from Woking Air Training Corp and numerous well-wishers for the Czech and Slovak ex-pat community in the UK and from the Czech Republic. Woking British Legion provided the standard bearers and also Czech army descendant George Scott.

Celý ceremoniál byl velmi dobře obsazen v čele Jeho Exelencí Ľubomírem Rehákem, velvyslancem SR, paní Markétou Štěrbovou, první tajemnicí velvyslanectví ČR v Londýně, dále byli přítomni viceprezident pro letectví Graham Russell, Steve Fischer z velvyslanectví České republiky v Londýně, plukovník Jan Goceliak, vojenský přidělenec velvyslanectví SR v Londýně, vojenští přidělenci ambasád z Austrálie, Francie, Polska a USA, starosta města Woking Graham Cundy s chotí, dále Sophia Mika za CWGC, zástupci sdružení RAF, John Bumicz, zástupce polské asociace letců Spojeného království, zástupci projektu Československá fontána svobody, zástupce armádní jednotky JTAC letecké základny v Náměšťi n/ Oslavou, zástupci servisní organizace hřbitova v Brookwoodu, rodiče a děti z české školy v Berkshire a Slovenské mateřské školy, Jaromír Marek z Českého rozhlasu, útvar vlajkonošů z Woking Air Training Corp a řadu sympatizantů z české a slovenské exilové komunity ve Velké Británii a v České republice. Vlajkonoši byli také z řad Britské legie, včetně potomka českého vojáka George Scott.

Welcoming and introductory speech was given by Mrs Gerry Manolas.

Přivítání účastníků a slavnostní úvodní řeč byla přednesena paní Gerry Manolasovou.

Speeches then followed by His Excellencies Ľubomír Rehák who highlighted the role played by Czechoslovak forces in the UK during WW2, a special tribute was paid to the late Maj.General Ivan Schwarz who had been interred at Brookwood this February. He then continued to emphasise the significance that 2018 held; the 100th anniversary of the formation of Czechoslovakia on 28 October 1918, the 50th anniversary of the Soviet occupation of 1968 and the 25th anniversary of the formation of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. Col Jiří Niedoba concluded the speeches with a short account of the role that Czechoslovak airmen and soldiers had played in Great Britain during WW2 in the fight against Nazi tyranny and the freedom of their homeland.

Dále následovalo vystoupení Jeho Excelence, Ľubomíra Reháka, který zdůraznil roli československých vojenských sil ve Velké Británii během 2.světové války a zvláštní upomínka byla věnována generálu Ivanu Schwarzovi, který byl v únoru roku 2007 v Brookwoodu pohřben. Dále zdůraznil 100. výročí vzniku Československa 28. října 1918, 50. výročí sovětské okupace z 1968 a 25. výročí vzniku České a Slovenské republiky. Plukovník Jiří Niedoba potom ukončil projevy krátkým zdůrazněním úlohy, kterou hráli českoslovenští letci a vojáci ve Velké Británii během 2. světové války v boji proti nacistické tyranii a za svobodu své vlasti.

Wreaths were then laid by HE Ľubomír Rehák, Col Jiří Niedoba, AVM Graham Russell, Defence Attachés from the USA, Poland, Australia, Graham Cundy, CWGC, French Defence Attaché, Air Cadets on behalf of the RAFA and the Norwegian Embassy, John Bumicz, the Czech School Berkshire, Czechoslovak Freedom Fountain, the Miroslav Liskutin family, the JTAC unit, and on behalf of the RAF airmen from Opava, Czech Republic.

Poté byly položeny věnce Jeho Excelencí Ľubomírem Rehákem, pluk. Jiřím Niedomem, AVM Grahamem Russellem, vojenskými přidělenci z USA, Polska, Francie, Austrálie, Grahamem Cundym, CWGC, leteckými kadety jménem RAFA a Norským velvyslanectvím, také John Bumicz, zástupci česká školy v Berkshire, Československá fontány svobody, zástupci rodiny Miroslava Liškutina, letci jednotky JTAC a jménem letců RAF z Opavy v ČR.

Czech violinist Julie Svěcená then played the Czech and Slovak national anthems, accompanied by singer Stepan Hobza, she then continued to play the British national anthem.

Česká houslistka Julie Svěcená spolu se zpěvákem Štěpánem Hobzou poté přednesli českou a slovenskou národní hymnu, a na závěr zahrála také britskou národní hymnu.

Ruth Moore, buglar from the Last Post Brookwood Association, then played the “Last Post” followed by a two minutes silence.

Ruth Moore, z Asociace Last Post Brookwood Association, poté zahrál “Poslední zastavení”, po kterém následovalo dvouminutové ticho.

Accompanied by guitar, children from the two schools, accompanied by Stepan Hobza, then sang an excerpt from the well known Czech polka “Škoda lásky” (“Beer Barrel Polka”), better known in the UK as “Roll out the Barrel”.

Doprovázeni kytarou a spolu se Štěpánem Hobzou, poté zazpívali školáci úryvek ze známé české polky “Škoda lásky”, ve Velké Británii známé pod názvem “Vyvalte sudy”.

The children then laid the traditional Royal British Legion remembrance cross’s by forty-five headstones by the Czechoslovak monument.

Školní děti pak položily pamětní kříž tradiční královské britské legie ke čtyřiceti pěti náhrobkům u Československého památníku.

The Air Cadet detachment concluded the event by placing lighted candles also by the headstones.

Útvar leteckých kadetů zakončil celou událost tím, že umístil zapálené svíčky na každém z náhrobků.

The event was well in beautiful weather, just a little sad that this was the first Brookwood event where no Czechoslovak vets attended. Disappointing also that again the graves in the post-WW2 Czechoslovak plot were again forgotten in this remembrance event.

Celá akce se vydařila i díky krásnému počasí, bylo jen trochu smutné, že se jednalo o první událost v Brookwoodu, jíž se nezúčastnil žádný z československých válečných veteránů. Bylo také smutné, že se při této vzpomínkové slavnosti zapomnělo na hroby v československé části Památníku 2. sv. války.




Posted in 310 Sqd, 311 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd, 68 Sqd, Events | 2 Comments

Plzen 3.5.2018.

Doubravečtí si připomněli své hrdiny
Plzeň Doubravka remembers its heroes

Ve čtvrtek 3. května proběhla vzpomínková akce na tři rodáky z Plzně Doubravky, členy Západočeského aeroklubu v Plzni na Borech, piloty RAF v II. světové válce Karla Pavlíka, Václava Šindeláře a Aloise Záleského.

On Thursday 3 May, a commemorative event took place for three natives from Plzeň Doubravka, members of the West Bohemian Air Club, Plzeň, Bory, who served in the RAF as pilots in WW II – Karel Pavlík, Václav Šindelář and Alois Záleský.

Pietní akt se odehrál v parku na Habrmanově náměstí za účasti představitelů příslušného městského obvodu, zástupců města, Kraje, Leteckého historického klubu Plzeň, Letců Plzeň, válečného veterána Josefa Švarce, Ivety Irvingové, dcery RAF pilot Jan Roman Irving, skauti, letci, další zájmové skupiny byly také přítomny.

The remembrance act took place at the park on Haberman’s Square, with representatives of the City District, representatives of the City, the Region, the Aviation Historic Club of Plzeň, Plzeň Aircraft, war veteran Josef Švarc, Iveta Irving, daughter of RAF pilot Jan Roman Irving, scouts, airmen, other interest groups wre was also present.

válečný veterán JOSEF ŠVARC

Poblíž parku byla přistavená historická vojenská vozidla s nadšenci oblečených do historických uniforem.

Adjacent to the park were also military re-enactors who had brought a collection of historic military vehicles.

Starosta příslušného městského obvodu Michal Chalupný vyzdvihl ve svém proslovu hrdinství všech vojáků, kteří bojovali ve službách spojeneckých sil proti hitlerovskému Německu a řada z nich také položila své životy za svobodu naší vlasti.

Michal Chalupný, District Mayor, highlighted in his speech the heroism of all soldiers who fought in the service of the Allied forces against Hitler’s Germany, and many of them also laid their lives for the freedom of our homeland.

V podobném duchu také mluvila členka rady Plzeňského kraje Radka Trylčová.

Radka Trylčová, Plzeň Regional Council spoke similarly in her speech.

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Se životem pilotů seznámil přítomné předseda Leteckého historického klubu gen. Jana R. Irvinga Plzeň Václav Toman.

Biographies of the pilot’s were read out by Václav Toman, President of the Historic Airmen’s Club General Jana R. Irving of Plzeň.

Karel Pavlík po přeškolení na stíhačku Spitfire je zařazen k 313. čs. stíhací peruti, se kterou létá jako doprovod lodních konvojů a bombardérů nad Francií. Peruť také provádí přepadové akce na letiště Luftwafe ve Francii a Belgii. 7. května 1942 při doprovodu britských bombardérů Boston na město Lille je v souboji s německými stíhači sestřelen nad belgickou vesnicí Dramouter nedaleko francouzsko – belgické hranice. Jeho Spitfire se zaryl do měkké půdy za statkem pana Luciena Henina.

Karel Pavlík after re-training on Spitfire fighter aircraft, joined 313 Czechoslovak Squadron, with whom he flew as escort for ship convoys in the English Channel and for Allied bombers over France. The Squadron also conducts offensive operations on Luftwaffe airfields in France and Belgium. On 7 May, 1942, the squadron provided escort to RAF Boston bomber aircraft for a raid on Lille, he was shot down by Luftwaffe fighters over the Belgian village of Dramouter near the French-Belgian border. His Spitfire crashed into the soft ground of the estate of Mr Lucien Henin.

Alois Záleský a Václav Šindelář sloužili jako mechanici u 312. čs. stíhací perutě a v roce 1941 na podzim jsou zařazeni do pilotního výcviku. Záleský je poslán do pokračovacího kurzu do Kanady a V. Šindelář zůstává v severní Anglii u 57. OTU výcvikové jednotky. Zahynul při cvičném letu na letounu Spitfire, se kterým tak rád létal. Pravděpodobnou příčinou havárie byla závada na kyslíkovém přístroji. Jeho letoun havaroval u Alnwicku na poli za školou. Zřítil se z výšky devět tisíc metrů. Sgt. Šindelář je pohřben v Chevingtonu Nordhumberland.

Alois Zálesky and Václav Šindelář initially served as mechanics in 312 Czechoslovak fighter squadrons and in the autumn of 1941 were selected for pilot training. Záleský was sent for a training course in Canada, while Šindelář remains in northern England with 57 OTU training unit. He was killed during a training flight in the Spitfire, which he liked to fly. The probable cause of the accident was a defect in the oxygen system. His plane crashed at Alnwick in a field behind the school. He crashed from a height of nine thousand metres. Sgt Šindelář is buried in Chevington Northumberland.

Alois Záleský se vrací na podzim 1943 z Kanady do Anglie a je přeškolen na Spitfira a zařazen k 313. peruti. Létá s čs. stíhacím Wingem a létá na doprovodné akce se spojeneckými bombardéry nad Francií. 24. září 1943 se utkal s německým ME – 110 v těžkém vzdušném boji a pravděpodobně jej sestřelil. 20. ledna 1944 mu byl udělen čs. válečný kříž 1939 a 6. června téhož roku přelétávají čs. stíhací perutě Čs. Wingu nad pláží Juno, aby ochránili kanadské vyloďovací jednotky ze vzduchu a ničili palebná postavení německé obrany. Již jako P/O podporučík se zúčastňuje výsadkové operace spojenců do Holandska „Market Garden“ se stíhacím Wingem provádí doprovod výsadkových Dakot s kluzáky. 9. února 1945 se naplnil jeho osud, kdy při cvičném výškovém letu s nácvikem odhození přídavných nádrží hlásí Al. Záleský svému veliteli pplk. Karlu Mrázkovi, že má poruchu na motoru. Ten jej poslal na základnu v Manstonu.

Alois Zálesky returns from Canada to England in the autumn of 1943, re-trained on Spitfires and was posted to 313 Sqn. At that time the squadron was part of the Czechoslovak Fighter Wing and flew escort for Allied bombers for raids over France. On 24 September 1943, he was in combat with a Luftwaffe Me 110 which probably shot him down. On 20 January 1944, he was awarded the Czechoslovak válečný kříž 1939 (War Cross 1939) and 6 June of the same year, D-Day, flew with the Czechoslovak Fighter Wing over Juno beach to provide aerial protection to the Canadian landing and to destroy German defence positions. Already at the rank of a P/O, he participated the Market Garden, Allied airborne operations in Holland, escorting Dakota aircraft towing gliders. On 9 February 1945, his fate was sealed during an altitude training flight to practice of the dropping of wing fuel tanks. Záleský reported to his C/O S/Ldr Karel Mrázek that he had an engine malfunction on the engine and would be returning to base at Manston.

Tam však nedolétl, protože jeho Spitfire se roztrhl ve vzduchu. P/O Alois Záleský je pohřben na vojenském hřbitově v Brookwoodu jihozápadně od Londýna.

But he did not get there; his Spitfire broke-up mid-air. P/O Alois Zálesky is buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery, southwest of London.

Následně Václav Toman vyzval Karla Ševčíka, kterému předal dárkovou tašku, jako dar za svého otce, který též bojoval za naši vlast v II. světové válce a v letošním roce by se dožil 100. let.

Václav Toman then presented Karel Ševčík, a gift bag, as a gift to his father, who also fought for our homeland in WW II. and this year he would have neen the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Následně Junior orchestr zahrál historickou hymnu československa a Velké Británie, aby poté přítomní uctili minutou ticha všechny ty, kteří na nás koukají z leteckého nebe.

The Plzeň Junior Orchestra played the national anthems of Czechoslovakia Great Britain, followed by a minutes silence.

Na závěr vzpomínkového aktu se přesunuli hosté k desce připomínající tři piloty, umístněné na bývalé budově konzervatoře, u které položili věnce a květiny.

The event concluded with wreaths and flowers being laid at the memorial plaque for the three pilots located on the former conservatory building.

© Jaroslav Kreisinger




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Czech involvement with RAF Transport Squadrons


Czech involvement with 105 OTU plus 511, 246

and other transport Squadrons in the RAF

During the latter war years an ever-increasing number of Czechoslovak airmen were syphoned off from operational duties to take up a transport role, initially with either 24 or 511 Squadron. This latter unit was based at RAF Lyneham from October 1942 (where it had been formed from a nucleus of 1425 Flt). Its role was to carry VIPs and priority freight to the Middle East. (In 1943, the Squadron flew the Prime-Minister, Winston Churchill, to the War Conference in Casablanca). In October 1943 the unit began a service to India using Liberator transport aircraft. During June 1944 it was reorganised into two Flights, ‘A’ Flight with some 13 Avro York aircraft to provide a service to the Middle East and ‘B’ Flight with 12 Liberator transport aircraft to provide a capability to undertake longer range flights. The unit had also maintained hitherto a number of Dakota aircraft, but these were disposed of as a result of the reorganisation. In September 1944, two of the Squadron’s Liberators were dispatched to the Soviet Union in support of RAF operations against the German battleship Tirpitz. They flew from Lossiemouth to Yagodnik and later flew aircrew back from Archangel. On the 1st of October 1944 after transferring its nine Liberators to 246 Sqn the unit ceased to use the type.

The Czech aircrew that flew with 511 Squadron were involved in a range of overseas VIP flights often to the Far East. The Czechs concerned were brought under the umbrella of the Czechoslovak Air Transport Pool in late 1944 and operated mainly with Avro Yorks and Liberator transport aircraft. Pilots included Flt/Lt Eduard PRCHAL (he had earlier flown Hurricanes fighters during the Battle of Britain with 310 Squadron, Beaufighters with 68 Squadron and had also served with 24 Sqn), who was the pilot of the ill-fated Liberator AL523, that crashed on take-off from Gibraltar in July 1943. On board were the Polish Prime Minister (in exile) General Władysław Sikorski and his entourage. The aircraft dived into the sea and all aboard were killed, with the exception of Prchal. The blow to the Polish government in exile was immense and rumours about the incident flew back and forth. However, Prchal was cleared of any wrongdoing or negligence and later returned to 24 Squadron and resumed his duties).

By 1944 a number of Czech personnel had been posted to 24 Sqn. The unit was based at Hendon and carried out a wide range of overseas flights using Hudsons, Wellingtons and Dakotas. During 1944 the Czech Air Transport Pool was formed under the command of Gp/Capt Alois KUBITA CBE. It was initially headquartered at Harrow and had at least one Anson aircraft (PH651) at its disposal. The Czech crews flew VIP trips abroad (including to the Moscow and Yalta Conferences). One of the Hudsons used by 24 Squadron was AE636, which was named ‘Spirit of Prague’ and was often flown by Czech pilots/crews on flights to Gibraltar and Malta. The longest-serving Czech pilot with 24 Sqn would turn out to be F/O František ALTMAN who flew a wide range of passengers during his time with the squadron, including Winston Churchill, Lord Trenchard, Anthony Eden and Sir Stafford Cripps.

In 1944 246 Squadron was re-formed at Lyneham with aircraft and some personnel from 511 Squadron (it had been a Coastal Command unit with Sunderland flying-boats up to its disbandment in April 1943). It was initially equipped with Liberator C.VII and Halifax IIIs and later took some Avro Yorks onto strength. Once it had been formed the unit then moved to Holmsley South, in Hampshire, on 1 December 1944.

Avro York Aircraft at Malta.

The squadron’s Liberators were constantly on the go and the Czech airmen were instrumental in providing a service to the Far East. For instance, on the 15th of December 1944, Liberator EW613 flew from Holmsley South to Lyneham and then to Malta with F/O Jan SERHANT and F/O Jaroslav DOLEŽAL at the controls (W/O František SADIL was the Radio Officer). In Malta the crew changed aircraft, taking over Liberator EW617 and continuing there flight on to Cairo, Shaibah and Karachi. They then flew on to Calcutta and thence to Allahabad from where they returned to Malta. Here they again changed aircraft to Liberator EW623, before finally arriving home via St Mawgan and Lyneham on the 28 of December.

Again on March the 29th 1945 Liberator FL909 took off from Holmsley South with F/O Jaroslav DOLEŽAL as Captain and set course for Lyneham en-route to Malta. Seven hours and forty-nine minutes later it landed at Luqa. The flight continued on through Cairo, where the crew changed aircraft to Liberator EW618, before arriving at Shaibah on the 5th of April. The flight finally terminated at Allahabad and then returned to Cairo. Here they once again changed aircraft to Liberator KH169, finally arriving back at base in the early afternoon of the 15th of April.

A Liberator of 246 Sqn.

105 Operational Training Unit (OTU) had been formed earlier, in April 1943 at Bramcote, as part of No.44 Group RAF, to train crews for transport (airline) squadrons. It had satellites at Nuneaton and Bitteswell and had 40 plus Wellingtons on strength. By September 1944, Dakota aircraft had begun to arrive and by May of 1945, the unit had some 35 Dakotas on strength. Typical aircraft serials were Wellington X MF521 (8F-R) and Dakota KJ875 (8F-GE); plus it had support aircraft such as Magisters, Tiger Moths and Oxfords.

The first Czech airmen had begun to arrive on 246 Squadron in November 1944 (when the unit was still based at Lyneham), having first undergone training in the transport role with 105 OTU. The arrivals from the OTU continued into early 1945 and the majority, if not all were ex-311 Squadron personnel, amongst them were the following;

F/O Václav JÍLEK 11/44 – 3/45 (pilot) (KOAS 14.3.45.); W/O Dalibor BROCHARD 11/44 – 3/45 (W/Op) (KOAS 14.3.45.); F/O Jan SERHANT 11/44 – 8/45 (pilot); F/O Jaroslav DOLEŽAL AFC 11/44 – 8/45 (navigator); F/Sgt František HAMBÁLEK 11/44 – 8/45 (flight engineer); F/Sgt Gejza HOLODA 11/44 – 8/45 (flight engineer); Flt/Lt Alois VOLEK 11/44 – 3/45 (navigator) (KOAS 13.3.45.); Flt/Lt Ondřej KACÍŘ 11/44 – 8/45 (W/Op);(all arrived in November 1944. The deaths noted above occurred whilst the personnel were serving with 246 Sqn. They were part of the crew of Liberator VIIc EW626 of 246 Sqn, which crashed on take off from the Azores in 1945 – all on board were killed (see below for details).

At 0113 hours on 14.3.45 Liberator C.VII EW626 of 246 Squadron, crashed shortly after take off in the Azores. The aircraft came down some 4 miles west of Lagens, killing all on board. The pilot, F/O Václav JILEK, had apparently been told to turn right after takeoff, but he turned left and flew into high ground. It was thought possible that he might have been experiencing air turbulence close to the ground and that caused him to turn to port against the advice he had been given.

The crew of the Liberator consisted of;

788121 F/O Václav JÍLEK (pilot), 787181 F/Sgt Ludvík KONDZIOLKA (engineer), 138874 Flt/Lt Alois VOLEK (navigator), 787809 W/O Dalibor BROCHARD (wireless operator) and F/O Anthony WALKER (2nd pilot) plus Flt/Lt Alistair MURDOCK DFC (2nd navigator) and eleven passengers. They are buried at the CWGC section at Lajes War Cemetry, Azores

The training on the OTU continued with the following personnel; F/O Karel KOPAL 12/44 – 8/45 (pilot); W/O Viktor TÉGEL 12/44 – 8/45 (W/Op) (born in Ruthenia); F/O Josef KUHN DFM 12/44 – 8/45 (pilot); F/O Bohumil SIGMUND 12/44 – 8/45 (navigator); W/O Alois STROUHAL 12/44 – 8/45 (W/Op); F/O Oldřich DOLEŽAL DFC 12/44 – 8/45 (pilot); Flt/Lt Zdeněk HANUŠ DFC 12/44 – 8/45 (navigator); F/O Ervín KOVÁČ 12/44 – 8/45 (navigator); W/O František SADIL 12/44 – 8/45 (W/Op); F/Sgt Ludvík KONDZIOLKA 1/45 – 3/45 (flight engineer); F/Sgt Karel HEŘMAN 1/45 – 8/45 (flight engineer); F/Sgt Lubomír KRACÍK 1/45 – 8/45 (flight engineer); F/O Stanislav HUŇÁČEK 1/45 – 8/45 (pilot); F/O Jaroslav MOTL 1/45 – 8/45 (navigator); F/O František NAVRÁTIL 1/45 – 8/45 (W/Op); W /O Adolf PEGŘIMEK 3/45 – 8/45 (flight engineer); Flt/Lt Jaroslav HÁJEK 3/45 – 8/45 (pilot); F/O František FAMFULE 3/45 – 8/45 (navigator); W/O Josef LAICHTER 3/45 – 8/45 (navigator); F/O Jaroslav NOVÁK 3/45 – 8/45 (navigator); W/O Václav TRNKA 3/45 – 8/45 (W/Op); Flt/Lt Václav RYBA 3/45 – 8/45 (pilot);Flt/Lt František RADINA 4/45 – 8/45 (pilot); Flt/Lt Jaromír MOCEK 4/45 – 8/45 (navigator); Flt/Lt Miroslav VILD DFC 4/45 – 8/45 (W/Op); F/O Jaroslav FRIEDL 4/45 – 8/45 (pilot); F/O Vlastimil SKÁKAL 4/45 – 8/45 (navigator); W/O Arnošt POLÁK 4/45 – 8/45 (W/Op); W/O Vojtěch SLEZÁK 3/5/45 – 7/5/45! (flight engineer) arrived in May 1945.

Having completed their training these personnel would then move on from Bramcote to 246 Sqn at Holmsley South. This list is probably incomplete and requires further research.

Aircraft in use by the OTU included the following:

Wellington Ic (C & D Flights); N2735, N2765, N2766, N2827, R1003, R1010, R1042, R1060, R1092, R1157, R1412, R1457, R1529, R1626, R1652, R1653,T2827, T2968, T3000, X9806, X9817, X9825, X9915, Z1051, Z8956, DV559, DV572, DV766, DV807, DV837, DV865, DV928, ES987, ES988 and LA968.

Wellington X (B Flight); LP805 (8F-K), LP816 (8F-T0, LP817 (8F-R), MF521 (8F-R), MF570 (8F-M), MF577, MF679 (8F-D), MF689 (8F-B), MF699 (8F-K), MF700 (8F-V), MF702 (8F-C), NA733 (8F-W), NA734 (8F-H), ..448, ..553 (8F-L), ..643 (8F-X), ..908, ..913 (8F-J), ..351 (8F-U), ..549 (8F-A) and ..677 (8F-N).

Wellington X (C Flight); LP280, LP822, LP824, LP821 (8F-A), MF134, MF242, MF521 (8F-R), MF654 (8F-G), MF655, MF659, MF690, MF691, MF692 (8F-G), MF699 (8F-X), MF701, NA713 (8F-K), NA714 (8F-F), NA751, ..356, ..410, ..444 (8F-S), ..548, ..665 (8F-Y) and ..708.

Plus, in June 1945 the unit began to re-equip with Dakota III and IV aircraft. A typical example would be Dakota KJ875 (8F-GE).

Additional individuals and crews trained at the OTU were as follows:

Course: Dates: Personnel:

6
11/43
to
26/01/44
Navigators Flt/Lt Ladislav ŠTĚPÁN and Flt/Lt Stanislav KODÝTEK

(both airmen were posted to 24 Sqn on completion of training).

8
21/12/43
to
25/03/44
consisted of Pilot F/O Jan ŠERHANT; Navigator F/O Jiri DOLEŽAL and W/Op Flt/Lt Ondřej KACÍŘ
(all three airmen were posted to 511 Sqn on completion of training).

10
01/03/44
to
22/05/44
consisted of;

Crew ‘A’– W/O Oldřich HLOBIL (pilot), F/O Miroslav LAŠTOVKA (navigator) and Sgt Stanislav Duba (W/Op).

Crew ‘B’ – F/O Jaroslav DOKTOR (pilot), Flt/Lt Jaromír FORETNÍK (navigator) and Sgt Ladislav KONCURIAK (W/O).

Crew ‘C’ – F/O Jan KAUCKY (pilot), P/O Vlastimil HLAVÁČ (navigator) and Flt/Lt Jaroslav LIŠKA (W/Op).


(Early in June 1944 all three crews were posted to 511 Sqn)


12
01/04/44
to
22/06/44
F/O František ŠVEJDAR (W/Op) and F/O Anton MARTIŠ (W/Op).

(Both airmen ultimately ended up being posted to 24 Sqn).

15
18/06/44
to
13/09/44
Consisted of Flt/Lt Václav FOGLAR (Pilot), F/O Jaromír GRYGAR (Navigator) and Flt/Lt Ludvík KRÁL (W/Op).

(On completion of training these airmen were posted to 147 Sqn).

18
15/08/44
to
08/11/44
Consisted of F/O Václav JILEK (pilot), F/O Alois VOLEK (Navigator) and W/O Dalibor BROCHARD (W/Op).

(Shortly after completing training these airmen were posted to 246 Sqn).

19
05/09/44
to
28/11/44
Consisted of;

Crew ‘A’– F/O Karel KOPAL (Pilot), F/O Ervín KOVÁČ (Navigator) and W/O Viktor TÉGEL (W/Op).

Crew ‘B’ – F/O Oldřich DOLEŽAL DFC (Pilot),Flt/Lt Zdeněk HANUŠ (Navigator) and W/O František SADIL (W/Op).

Crew ‘C’ – F/O Josef KUHN (Pilot), F/O Jaroslav NOVÁK (Navigator), F/O Robert SIGMUND (Navigator from 1/11/44) and W/O Alois STROUHAL (W/Op).

(F/O NOVÁK became sick and spent a period back in Britain at the RAF Hospital at Cosford and after having been on sick leave went to 24 Sqn for some refresher training before again returning to 105 OTU and becoming part of Course No.24. On the 1st of November, his place was taken by F/O SIGMUND who had just arrived from Canada. )


In the second week of December, the three crews were posted to 246 Squadron).


05/09/44
to
29/09/44
During September F/O Marián PATZELT passed out as a W/Op, after being trained as an individual from 5/9/44 to 29/9/44. On completion of his training, he too was posted to 246 Squadron.

Also during this month Flt/Lt Petr DUŠEK a navigator at 105 OTU, was posted (on 17/9/44) to a Wing of RAF Transport Command at Hendon as Navigation Officer.


20
26/09/44
to
16/12/44
The course was extended and training in fact ended on 16/12/44.

Consisted of F/O Stanislav HUŇÁČEK (Pilot), F/O Jaroslav MOTL (Navigator) and F/O František NAVRÁTIL. The final part of the training was completed using the satellite airfield at RAF Lyndley.
(Once the training was completed the airmen were posted to 246 Squadron).


22
07/11/44
to
02/02/45
Consisted of Flt/Lt Ladislav SVĚTLÍK (Pilot), F/O Adolf JURMAN (Navigator) and W/O Václav KAŠPAR (W/Op).
On the 16th of February, this crew was posted to a Ferry Unit at RAF Talbenny, where they remained until May 1945, flying both Wellington Mk.Xs and Mk.XIIIs.

24
19/12/44
to
27/03/45
Consisted of;

Crew ‘A’– Flt/Lt Jaroslav HÁJEK (Pilot), F/O František FAMFULE (Navigator) and W/O Josef LAICHTER (W/Op).

Crew ‘B’ – Flt/Lt Václav RYBA (Pilot), F/O Jaroslav NOVÁK (Navigator) and W/O Václav TRNKA (W/Op).

(On completion of their training the crews were posted to 246 Squadron).

246 Sqn including some Czechoslovak airmen.

Ground training in the use and operation of Direction Finding (D/F) equipment was also carried out at the OTU. Both the base station at Bramcote and the satellite at Lyndley were used Two airmen were trained for this role between 26/02/45 and 18/04/45.They were W/O Václav KOSTELECKÝ and W/O Erich REICH. Following their training, they were posted to the BOAC base at Whitchurch, south of Bristol.

Course: Dates: Personnel:

25
10/02/45
to
02/04/45
Navigators Flt/Lt Ladislav ŠTĚPÁN and Flt/Lt Stanislav KODÝTEK

(both airmen were posted to 24 Sqn on completion of training).

28
21/12/43
to
25/03/44
(the start of the course was delayed. It had originally been planned to start on 9/1/45);
Consisted of:

Crew ‘A’– Flt/Lt František RADINA (Pilot), Flt/Lt Jaromír MOCEK (Navigator) and Flt/Lt Miroslav VILD (W/Op).

Crew ‘B’ – F/O Jaroslav FRIEDL (Pilot), F/O Vlastimil SKÁKAL (Navigator) and W/O Arnošt POLÁK (W/Op)

(On completion of their training both crews were posted to 246 Sqn).

During 1944 nine pilots, eleven navigators and twelve Wireless Operators underwent training at the OTU. In addition during 1945 a further six pilots, six navigators and 6 Wireless Operators were trained (plus two airmen were trained as D/F operators). In June 1945 the unit transferred to No.4 Group and in August 1945 it was re-designated as No.1381 (Transport) Conversion Unit.

Liberator Aircraft Used by 246 Sqn included;

EW613, EW616, EW617, EW618, EW623, EW624, EW630, EW631, EW633, EW634,
FL909 (Ex BOAC Reg’ G-AGFN), FL915 (Ex BOAC Reg’ G-AGFO), FL917 (Ex BOAC Reg’G-AGFP), FL918 (Ex BOAC Reg’ G-AGFR), FL920 (Ex BOAC Reg’ G-AGFS),
KH169

Liberator G-AGFR (FL918) at Lisbon.

The Czech Air Transport Pool was disbanded on 15/2/46.

© John Rennison, Flt/Lt ret’d
August 2017




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Tomas Lom interview


An interview with Tomáš Lom, 311 Sqn radio operator, by Ian Willoughby, of Radio Praha.




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Czechoslovak RAF Museum – Police







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Czech Spitfires in the USA


The opportunity to see Spitfire Vc, AR614 DU-Z, often flow by W/Cmdr Tomáš Výbíral and Spitfire LF Mk IXe SL633, JT-10, often flow by F/Lt Karel Pošta, both of 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron.





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Plzen 19.4.2018. – 100th Anniversary of the Czechoslovak Air Force

The opening ceremony was held at the West Bohemian Museum, Plzeň for an exhibition to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Czechoslovak Air Force. The exhibition was organised by the Leteckého historického klubu gen. Jana R. Irvinga Plzeň (Aviation Historical Club, Gen. Jan R. Irving, Plzeň.

Amongst the memorabilia on display are items from Czechoslovak RAF airmen S/Ldr Antonín Liška 312 Sqn pilot, F/O Jan Irving, 311 Sqn pilot and F/O Miroslav Standera 312 Sqn pilot as well as numerous photographs and artifacts.

This video, by Jan Šinágl shows the opening of the exhibition.

The exhibition is from 19 April until 3 June and is located at
West Bohemian Museum, č.13 Náměstí republiky, Plzeň.

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Eduard Prchal – 10.5.2018. – Jilove







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